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How drum corps has become marching band without you even knowing it&#3

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Drum corps and marching band are akin. Anyone who cannot admit this is, sorry to say and not to be insulting, vacuous. Both drum corps and marching band pick a theme for a competitive field show and spend a competitive season leading up to a championship. Both marching band and drum corps march on a football field, both have brass, percussion and color guard, both have a front ensemble and so on and so on....

Many drum corps shows are based off of marching band shows and vice versa. This years Samurai show by the Cavaliers was recently done by a marching band in Florida. That Florida marching band also decided not to costume their front ensemble in their groups proper uniform. Cadets 2005 opener Liquid was based off a marching band show about different fears. That marching bands opener was a fear of water. You can view marching bands from Asia on youtube wearing a uniform styled after the Cavaliers and performing their take on Cavalier shows. Yet, I still haven't gotten to my point that drum corps has become marching band without you even knowing it.

35 years ago when DCI started the majority of membership was "off the streets". These untrained youth where usually from the town that the drum corps was from. There was a time when the membership of the Phantom Regiment were from Rockford/ Loves Park. Today I would be surprised if 2 members of the corps were from Rockford/Loves Park. What happened? The untrained off the street kids were replaced by marching band kids. If you poll a World class corps I believe you will find over 95% of the membership are marching band kids who received their first training in a school marching band. The kids are not the only element which has transformed as the instruction has also converted. The majority of drum corps instructors and designers are marching band directors and/or school educators. What this has done is to change the formula of membership in drum corps. Due to the fact that most people participating in a drum corps this summer, both membership and instructional, are marching band people. The mindset of drum corps has become more educational and marching band like. I dare say that drum corps is softer in it's approach both on and off the field than it was 35 years ago. These same instructors and designers spend their falls writing marching band shows. This is a definite reason for the similarity in design themes. Many drill writers test new ideas on marching bands before those same ideas hit a drum corps field. The famed Cavalier double helix of 1995 was seen in the previous marching band season.

Why do drum corps acquire such great sponsorships? Instruments, uniforms and guard equipment are all given to the top drum corps at little to no cost. The premier drum corps are of a higher mastery than the premier marching bands. The reasoning is simple, these sponsors see marching band and drum corps as part of the same industry and are seeking sales from the nations many school districts. It is fair to say that the nations best marching bands are better than many drum corps.

Drum corps has become marching band without you even knowing it. The drum corps activity has been invaded by the people and industry of the marching band world. The two are very intertwined and to not accept this is ludicrous. What would drum corps be without this marching band invasion? It would be dead and if we're not careful it will be dead soon.

A previous post asked which recently folded corps would you bring back. In the last 3-4 years drum corps has lost 6 World class corps. If you don't believe me this year there are 48 competitive corps registered with Drum Corps International. In 2003 there was 67 drum corps at the DCI championships. In 5 years we have lost 19 corps. Why is this happening? The cost of fuel, the cost of food and a smoking ban in bingo halls are a few reasons.

So what is the point of my essay? Drum corps and marching band are very similar. They are members of the same industry and become more and more related every year. Also, drum corps is coming to an end unless something big happens. We should be appreciative of all the groups regardless of your personal feelings about their design or identity. Soon you may be saying "Remember drum corps". Go to a drum corps show because ticket sales are down 50%. Stand up at the end of every performance and show your appreciation for that drum corps because soon there may not be a drum corps for you to go and view.

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Very good post and very good points. I am one of those marching band kids you speak of. I'm from Dallas, TX and I marched with SCV. Thing is, I initially fell in love with drum corps because it WASN'T marching band. I loved marching band in HS, but I would get SO ANGRY when my band (which took a more classical approach to the activity) got our butts whooped by these fluffy, prop-having narration-spitting "artistic" shows. Then I saw a video of the 2000 Cavaliers and it BLEW MY MIND. I couldn't get over how AWESOME they were without any of that crap. The videos from that year were really great too, when they would make their blocks I could see that even the hornline members' SHADOWS were perfectly in line (well, my eye was untrained back then... I'm sure everyone thought the first DCI show they saw was "perfect"). To top it off, no woodwinds or electronics? HELL yeah. I immediately knew that I HAD to do that.

But I agree... these days drum corps is basically marching band. And unfortunately you're right, it needs to be in order to survive. Just breaks my heart because I originally was attracted to it because it WASN'T marching band. That's life I guess.

Edited by I play the baritone good

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Huh...food for thought. Thanks for the read.

To me, though I love the "old school" drum corps style, there's nothing wrong with where the activity is going now, as far as I'm concerned (despite, perhaps, an EXCESS of narration. Mind you, I didn't say we should ban narration, but keep it to a reasonable quantity. This really applies to both marching band and drum corps in my opinion).

As long as the instrumentation stays the way it is (valved or hey, unvalved, if that's your thing, front bells horns with percussion and guard), anything goes.

But, that's just my opinion.

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Huh...food for thought. Thanks for the read.

To me, though I love the "old school" drum corps style, there's nothing wrong with where the activity is going now, as far as I'm concerned (despite, perhaps, an EXCESS of narration. Mind you, I didn't say we should ban narration, but keep it to a reasonable quantity. This really applies to both marching band and drum corps in my opinion).

As long as the instrumentation stays the way it is (valved or hey, unvalved, if that's your thing, front bells horns with percussion and guard), anything goes.

But, that's just my opinion.

All he is saying is that the two are pretty much the same. Woodwinds are pretty much the only thing between the two which is a glaring difference.

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As I stated on a different post. Lamborghini and Ford Taurus. Drum Corps being the Lamborghini and marching bands being a Taurus. EVERYONE wants to drive a Lambo!!! They are both "cars" or "vehicles"

Drum corps and Bands are both musical "groups" But there are major differences.

The majority of H.S. and college music directors who also instruct drum corps started in drum corps.

I do believe a big reason why drum corps is so atractive to many is because it is more intense 10 fold

DRUM CORPS WILL NEVER DIE...WE WILL JUST REGROUP IN HELL :thumbup:

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Drum corps has become marching band without you even knowing it. The drum corps activity has been invaded by the people and industry of the marching band world. The two are very intertwined and to not accept this is ludicrous. What would drum corps be without this marching band invasion? It would be dead and if we're not careful it will be dead soon.

I can agree with you to a point. I joined the DCW in 1990 and started following corps in mid-1980's when this was not as obvious. Well to be fair not obvious to me anyway. The activity being dead I feel is a little over exaggerated and to say that it is due to the current intertwined makeup is just not true. Of course I accept the intertwinement. This may have alienated some of the fan base, but not everyone. We all have our own tastes. There are many things today I do not like in drum corps, but that has not stopped me from still enjoying the activity that I have loved.

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All he is saying is that the two are pretty much the same. Woodwinds are pretty much the only thing between the two which is a glaring difference.

I've been saying on here in other threads "It's MBI now not DCI anymore" we just have not changed the name, YET. I Believe with all my heart that woodwinds are coming sooner than we even think. And that breaks my heart.

Edited by Perry S

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You know, there is an "Old Farts" section somewhere where you guys can get together and stroke each other off about how great you all were in 1975. Thanks, I've heard the recordings. I'll take narration.

Tell me something, all of you, "This isn't real drum corps" crowd--when you entered the activity in the 1970's, were the old farts then so nasty as you people have been ever since I came into the activity in 91? I mean, every other word out of your mouths is, "Star bought their seat at the table." Or, "This isn't drum corps." Or, "We were better when we were from the neighborhood!"

Puhleeezz!!

Simple statistics lesson that I've droned on about a couple times at least. If you take 128/135/150 people and put them together and compare a group of people that are in the closest proximity to one another versus a national sampling by audition of the best qualified people, the national sampling wins every time.

DC members today are about 100 times more talented than 30 years ago.

DC recordings are about 1,000 times better.

Designers in both the DC universe and the MB universe are largely veterans of DCI and are driving the respective activities.

And Directors in high schools are many times more likely to be vets of DCI corps today than back then.

And staff of the corps are more likely to be degreed, educated, certified, experienced MB directors if not university profs.

How many University profs on staff in 1975?

Plus, corps are in no better financial situation than they were 30 years ago, so you have absolutely no ground to make baseless claims like, "This ain't drum corps." And with as many DCI vets who have moved in and taken over the MB universe, why are we surprised that the MB activity wouldn't be more creative and forward thinking that DCI?

Better title for such threads: "How drum corps passed by the 70's crowd without their ever knowing it."

And once again I state, anyone who can mistake a marching band and a drum corps, whether in a parade, a field performance or rehearsal is simply blind and beyond helping. Let them fall behind to cull the herd.

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They are both pretty much the same activity today. I came to terms with that soon after I aged out in '96. The same people are driving the evolution of both drum corps and marching band.

As for the "untrained kids off the street", they no longer join the local corps. They join the local HS marching band. The local HS marching band that is staffed with current and former drum corps members and often times has a drum corps vet as a band director. Or, in the case of the band I work for, a director who really wanted to march corps but wasn't able to.

It was interesting to read up there about the '95 Cavaliers double helix. I saw a possible similar situation in 1991-1992. Fall of 1991: Carlisle HS from Carlisle Pennsylvania played Chester, ending the piece with two boxes rotated 45 degrees (diamonds) with the drumline marching to the front sideline between them. Summer of 1992: Star of Indiana ended Chester pretty much the same way. Coincidence? Possibly, I'm not sure who worked with who back then.

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